Good morning friends! It’s so good to be back here with you today! This weekend felt like a blur. I found myself alternating between two modes: extreme cleaning and decluttering and utter laziness. Then, I’d eat very clean, followed by wine and brownies. Very strange times we are living in. Yet, I continue to count my blessings and pray for the health and safety of everyone on planet earth.
We start homeschooling today and I’m feeling completely overwhelmed. Last night I printed the 52 emails I got from various teachers with links and passwords and instructions and I’m like OMG- I’m gonna fail so big at this. F+! I kid, but where are the memes with teachers relaxing in bubble baths drinking champagne while laughing their asses off at all of us parents with school age kids at home?! Our teachers are truly heros! ♥♥♥
Over on Stories, I opened it up for questions and boy did y’all respond! With no topic off limits, there were tons of questions about divorce and dating! I haven’t shared too much about that, so I’m answering those questions honestly today, along with some of the other top questions. There were so many questions (thank you!), that I’ll have to break the post into parts to thoughtfully answer everything, but I think it will be fun to do a few of these!
If you have any other questions, leave them in the comments section!
I hope this isn’t too personal, but did you ever say why you got divorced?
Before I get into this, if you’re reading this question and thinking wait, what, you got divorced? You can read about that here.
I understand this question, it’s human nature to be curious. What went wrong? Why couldn’t you make it work? Those are questions I struggled with for a long time myself. I also felt tremendous guilt about getting divorced because we have kids. When I got married, I was very much in love and thrilled with my choice of life partner. I fully expected that we would be together forever. “It didn’t work out” is a gross understatement, but that’s all that I feel is appropriate to share.
It’s deeply personal and I have enough respect for myself, my ex, our marriage, and our children to not divulge those private details here. It’s complicated and complex and even if I was willing to share such intimacies, it would take volumes of blog posts to describe everything. More importantly, I don’t want my kids to read about that here. I hope if they read my blog and what I wrote about our family, that they are proud and comfortable with the way I spoke it.
I can only say that in my heart of hearts, I know I tried my very best and that divorce was the last resort.
How is coparenting going?
The short answer is “pretty good” and I’m very thankful for that. I will always speak positively about my kids’ father. He’s a good dad and loves his children with his whole heart. Our kids are amazing humans and half of them is him! I love those parts!
When James is interested in world history and politics and geography, I think “thank goodness for who their dad is, because that’s not me!” When Jordan is witty and sarcastic and funny, I know that’s her dad! I love her personality!
I’m confident in what I bring to the table and I know what my strengths are, as well as my own weaknesses. I’m thankful that their dad has his own strengths that our kids inherited.
The thing about divorce is, especially when you have young children together, you remain in each others lives. The better you can communicate and work together, the better off your children will be.
We have our ups and downs and I do get really angry and upset sometimes, but overall, I’m pretty proud of how well we’re working together. We’ve done kids’ birthday parties together and hopefully that can continue in the future.
How are you coparenting during Coronavirus?
Basically, we are taking it one day at a time. We aren’t necessarily following the “schedule” but just doing what works and trying to be flexible. The kids are home with me now and my 4th grade son starts distance learning today, so this will be something new for us. I also want to try to keep up with Jordan’s learning. She’s so interested in creative play, learning letters and the very beginning of reading, so I’ll keep working on that with her here.
Even when it was ‘my day’, Dad was the sports coach, so he saw the kids during the week for that. Now with sports cancelled, we’ll try to make more time for them to see him during the week.
Are you dating? You’re such a catch!
Aww, thank you!! This was the most asked question by far! Let’s get to the juice! ha!
But first, let’s recap: I’ve been separated since September 2018, living alone since January 2019, and officially divorced last September. So, in a way, I’ve been single a long time now.
Honestly, dating wasn’t even on my mind for the longest time. My friends would encourage me, but I had zero interest. I had to grieve the ending of my marriage. Since I wasn’t able to talk about it during the process, you guys missed a lot of that. But I definitely went through it. There were days I didn’t want to get out of bed and many times I cried in the shower. Divorce is really gut wrenching.
It also takes time to adjust to life as a ‘divorced mom’. Doing all the things by yourself is tremendously hard. Not as hard as being a true ‘single mom’ without a dad doing his share, but still really hard.
Figuring out how to juggle working and supporting my family, trying to take care of myself, my mom, and run our household is exhausting. It’s still a work in progress, but I have found my footing.
Last year was challenging with a threenager, but things have really started to mellow out in the last few months. I feel like my kids take up so much of my energy, that I typically found myself exhausted on the weekends that they were with their dad. And, I also had to use that time to catch up on work I didn’t get done during the week. Therefore, dating was the last thing on my mind.
But now, I’m ready! ??
Being single can be lonely for sure. My girlfriends talked me into creating a Bumble account which I resisted for so long because I felt so pitiful getting on there! But honestly, I work from home and rarely get out, so where else am I going to meet someone? I think in today’s world, it’s really common to meet someone on a dating app. No shame!
So, Bumble is dating app where the woman makes the first communication, which I appreciate. That way, you get to decide if you want to start chatting with someone. Let me tell you though, the first time I went on the app I was NOT IMPRESSED! So so so so bad! ??? A lot of OH HELL NOS!!!??♀️
You gotta wade through a lot of frogs, just sayin! I’ve been on two dates so far.
Hot Baseball Dad : OMG, holy hottie! It’s very rare that I find myself attracted to someone. But this guy, DANG! Tall, dark, and handsome with piercing blue eyes. And we had a lot in common, great first date. Then, I learned through the grapevine that he has an on and off girlfriend, mostly on. No, thanks! #next!
Adorable Man Child : I went on a date with a younger guy and it showed. Halfway through the date, I found myself mothering him and giving him dating advice! #notsexy
That having been said, I’m not ready to throw in the towel. I’m in my 40s and in my PRIME! ?I have not given up on love or relationships or wanting a partner in life. I have so much love to give and though I’m not putting any pressure on myself, I’m open to see what happens.
Girl, your abs are on fire! What is your ab routine?
This was the next most frequently asked question and I really appreciate you noticing that I stepped up my game recently. As you might know, my girlfriend and I were supposed to go to Puerto Rico on Spring Break, so I had been extra diligent with eating and exercise. I was using my daily tracker to help encourage me to stick with it. Plus, a spray tan helps everything look better!
It’s really true that ‘abs are made in the kitchen’ and so much of what we see in our body has to do with how and what we eat. I had been tracking my macros in My Fitness Pal with the goal of gaining muscle and losing fat and that really helps me. You have to find the macros that work for you, but for me, my goal is : 1250 calories, 125 g (40%) carbs, 125 g (40%) protein, and 28 g (20%) fat. I don’t always reach the goal, but those are the numbers.
Also, I was working out an average of 5 times a week. I do hard interval cardio where I really get my heart rate up, then bring it down, and alternate for a good 20-30 minutes a day, then weight train as well. I workout with a strength trainer twice a week for 3o minutes. It’s an investment for sure, but I feel like it’s worth it.
For ab workouts, I do a variety of different exercises – Forearm Plank, Rainbow Plank, Toe Touch Plank, Mountain Climbers, Leg Lift, Core Roll Up, Bicycle Crunch, Jackknife.
This article has lots of ab exercises (including the ones I mentioned) & video demonstrations on how to do them.
You can read this post about how to safely lose half to one pound a week with an easy ab and booty workout routine.
If you are trying to get in better shape, remember it takes time to see change. When I trained for the fitness competitions, it was always about six weeks of serious dieting and training before I noticed significant, visible changes. If you think about it, six weeks is a relatively short time in the grand scheme of life. Here’s my Bikini Meal Plan, which is more calories than I eat now!
Once you start seeing those changes though, you’ll be more motivated to stick with it and keep it up because you’re starting to feel so good!
What do you eat in a day?
I tend to be a creature of habit and get in routines where I eat the same kind of thing on repeat and then I’ll change it up. A typical day might be:
Water & Muscle Egg
Coffee with creamer!
A piece of whole wheat toast and tblsp natural peanut butter (to get me through my morning workout)
Protein Pancake with berries and syrup
Fish (I usually prepare in the air fryer) with a cup of veggies and brown rice
Apples & Peanut Butter or Greek Yogurt/Granola/Berries or a Smoothie (love my Nutribullet)
Salad with chickpeas or grilled chicken or shrimp
Hot Peppermint Tea
*Don’t get me wrong, I have a bad sweet tooth, and LOVE chocolate!! I try to just have a little bit after dinner, instead of none at all.
Lately, I’ve been hooked on tuna salad. I like it on wheat bread or on top of a bowl of greens with pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top.
Since we are all working out at home, can you recommend your favorite activewear?
Oh yes! I have lots of quality workout clothes and I enjoy my workouts much more when I wear them! Here are my top recommendations and what I wear the most.
Jog Bra (especially for larger chests)
What have you been wearing at home lately while staying inside?
What did you do before blogging and how did you start your blog?
Great question! I wrote a two-part post on exactly this topic last year (here & here). Before I started blogging, I was a lawyer. I started my blog over 10 years ago as an online journal for having a new baby (time flies!) and building our house.
What is your favorite lipstick color?
Hmm, that’s a hard one! I think my newest fave is Charlotte Tilbury “Liv it Up” – It’s a gorgeous shade of pink that doesn’t disappear on your lips (pictured below).
You can find my latest finds from Sephora here.
How do you find such cute clothes on Amazon?
I was so surprised to realize how much you guys love my Amazon posts. They were my most popular posts of 2019!
When I first started shopping for clothes on Amazon, I had lots of no’s, but the longer I’ve been shopping there, the better my orders have been. I post my Amazon purchases twice a month and I’m so glad it’s helpful for you to see the items on me so that you can picture how they’ll look on you.
ONE // One of my best tips for shopping Amazon online is to find brands you love and trust, Daily Ritual and Amazon Essentials is a good place to start – then keep checking those sites on Amazon to see what’s new. Once you find your correct size in those brands, shopping for things you like is so much easier.
TWO // Read the reviews and star ratings. The shoppers on Amazon are really good about leaving their honest feedback and often will share photos of themselves in the clothes, and that can be so helpful if the person is a similar shape as you.
THREE // Be specific in your search. Instead of “women’s tops”, try “women’s embroidered tops” or “lace crochet cocktail dress” so your results are more on par with what you’re looking for. You can also narrow your search price to “under $25”.
FOUR // Watch out for items that are Prime so that you can take advantage of the fast, free shipping!
FIVE // If an item you want isn’t on Prime, try copying and pasting the name of the item into the search bar because often many sellers have the same or very similar products.
How do I shop your posts on Instagram? I can never seem to figure it out!
I didn’t realize that so many of you had this question! #badblogger for not explaining it better. I usually share shoppable photos on Instagram daily (not so much lately with everything going on), but I’ll try to get back to it!
All of the items I’m wearing are linked in my Instagram profile. Click the live link under “shop my looks” to get all the direct links.
When you click that link, it will take you to this page on my blog where you can click the photo and links will pop up for the items.
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Or from my blog, go to the SHOP tab, then click INSTAGRAM.
I know you like to read, what are some of your favorite books?
I like to read, but mostly productivity or self-help type books. I need your advice on some good old fashioned fiction novels! Comment below!
I’m almost finished reading Younger Next Year for Women and I bought it for my mom too! It’s fantastic and gives so much hope for aging with vibrancy and strength and energy into our 90s! I’ve highlighted the heck out of it!
I also just finished Atomic Habits and highly recommend that one too. It’s well written with lots of lifestyle tips that I hadn’t thought of, but totally work!
Eat That Frog – one of the best, quick reads that (if you take the action steps inside) can radically change your life.
Rising Strong is the book that most helped me get through my divorce with dignity.
How has your microblading lasted? Are you still glad you did it?
100% yes! I still think microblading is one of the best things I did for my face! It’s been almost three years since I got my eyebrows microbladed and, although I was so freaked out initially, now I realize how tiny and thin my natural brows were! Having fuller eyebrows is more youthful and looks so much better!
I went back for a touch up a year later (two years ago) and have a video of the process. The main thing is to go to a reputable salon with someone with lots of experience. It’s semi permanent and on your face, so you have to be very careful!
I still fill in my brows with Dip Brow “Soft Brown” (applied with a stiff angled brush).
Awhile ago you shared a tutorial for how to keep your hydrangeas alive and I can’t find it. Please help!
Here ya go! It’s buried in an old “This & That” post. I use this trick every time I buy hydrangeas and they last several weeks!
I love seeing bits of your home decor! Can you share more?
I love to share home decor with you! I have tons of blog posts on the DECOR tab where you can see how the rooms came together over the years.
Jordan’s Bedroom (I realized this needs to be updated, we’ve painted, removed the art and mirror, and added decals since then! )
I know you love to GSD! How do you do it all?
If you didn’t know, GSD stands for Get Sh*t Done! And yes, most of the time, I operate on that mode. But not always, and surely not all by myself! Like I mentioned above, usually on the first day the kids go to their dad’s house, I am so pooped that I literally just lay on the couch for a good part of the day, nearly paralyzed. I still struggle with feeling guilty about it, but it’s self preservation! I have to catch up on my sleep and take care of me!
Also, remember I used to have my friend Shannon working with me, but she left last summer. 🙁 Miss her tons, but we still keep in touch!
When I told Ali-Shaun that I was looking for a new assistant, she immediately recommended our friend Rhonda. Remember those chocolate chip cookies? That’s Rhonda! Ali-Shaun is so good at connecting people!
Rhonda is a stay-at-home mom with kids my son’s age and a bit older. She’s been working with me for a while now and I’m so happy to have her! She’s working from home since the Coronavirus, but she helps so much with building the online data base of clothing so we can link products, linking products in posts, helping with my facebook page, taking photos, unboxing items, returns, you name it!
I love having her here because blogging can truly be so isolating. She and I are often chatting away and laughing and it’s like girlfriends hanging out. Not to say that we don’t work. I think you’d be surprised at all that goes into blogging behind the scenes. I know Rhonda was!
And I also have my cleaning lady, Anna, that has been with me for years. She’s like part of our family and we appreciate her so much. It really helps me relax and be more playful with my kids (especially Jordan) when she wants to play a game or color and I don’t have to be distracted by tons of messes everywhere.
I find that ROUTINES are what really keeps things chugging along here. I had a pretty good Daily & Weekly routine going, but now that school is out, we need to revise them. I’ll share that with you soon!
I’m also a huge fan of lists. I usually keep a notepad open, on the right I list out everything I need to do for my blog, and on the left, is all the home/kid/personal things. I cross them off as I complete them in a day, then add to it or start a fresh sheet.
Or, sometimes, I use the Notes app on my phone to makes lists. Usually it’s paper most often though.
I love your hair color and cut! Who does your hair?
Thank you so much! My hair has been a work in progress and I’ve changed it up quite a bit over the years from very long and bright blonde, to dark, to short. I really like where it’s at now with a medium length (I’m growing it just a bit) and the melted/ombre blonde color, since it’s easier to maintain.
I’m in Houston and I go to Chris at MSalon for color and Renee at Satori Salon for cuts/extensions (occasionally). Renee used to do my all-over blonde highlights before I started getting the melted/ombre look. I love the look of bright blonde all over, but my hair grows so fast that it’s hard to keep up with- I used to have to go every 6 weeks. Now, I go about every 5 months for color. Chris is really expensive, but because I go less often, that helps.
Can I get a link for . . . .
And finally, I thought I’d share some common links y’all are often asking for :
I really enjoyed writing this post and I hope it was fun for you! There were lots more questions that I can answer in a Part 2. If you have more questions, please let me know below in the comments!
Now go kick Monday’s butt & don’t let the homeschoolers take control! We got this!